- Suggested retail price: $289
- This Thursday at 6:30 p.m., we're pouring a one-ounce pour for $8
Regular readers of this email/blog will have heard me refer many times to "merchant whisky." Generally a merchant whisky is not released directly from the distillery owners, but it's a barrel or a selection of barrels purchased by a merchant, bottled to the merchant's specifications at the time of the merchant's choosing and then released with that merchant's name added. In ancient times, most whisky was sold and transported by the barrel, not in glass. It would often be bottled in the back room in whatever saloon or shop was its final destination. As you might imagine there was ample opportunity to adulterate and stretch the product in this system. Sealed glass bottles were a welcome safeguard.
Most often, merchant whisky remains in the original distillery until they are bottled under contract from their owner. For a merchant to bottle it's own whisky in Scotland, it must have a facility and a license from the government. "Signatory Vintage" has such a licensed facility. In fact, it is one of only three independent bottlers in Scotland. Andrew and Brian Symington started the company in the late 1980's. They moved to Newhaven (Edinburgh) in 1992 (the same year Stage Left opened her doors) and began a tradition of truly independent bottling. They also release whisky under the names Scottish Wildfire, Dun Eideann and Prestonfield. They also own Scotland's smallest distillery, Edradour.
Glen Garioch is the easternmost distillery in Scotland. The name is pronounced Geery in the ancient Doric dialect still spoken in Oldmeldrum, near Aberdeen, where Glen Garioch has been producing whisky since 1797. They are known for a classic Highland style of whisky and excellent quality. Much of the production is sent to Japan, where it is very popular and highly regarded. In fact, the distillery has been owned by Suntory since 1994. I am positively thrilled to see what the Symingtons have done in their custom bottling facility with this single barrel of whisky that was distilled when Glen Garioch was still in Scottish hands.
Thursday, we will open one bottle at 6:30 precisely. When it's gone, it's gone.
Next week in The Spirits Project
Bruichladdich Octomore 6.1